News from the pews . . .
The countdown has begun.
Sneed is told a hush-hush process of vetting candidates to select a replacement for Cardinal Francis George, now undergoing chemo for a third bout of cancer, is already underway.
George turned in his perfunctory resignation letter to now-retired Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, when he turned 75 — and his aides claim the replacement process is at least a year away because they have yet to hear officially by phone from Papal Nuncio Carlo Maria Vigano.
But Sneed is told the process has begun because of the return of the cardinal’s cancer — and once the phone rings at the cardinal’s mansion, the change will go more quickly than expected.
Sneed hears whispers Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle, who was the bishop of Joliet from 2006-2010, has been added to the list of possible replacements eyed by Vatican scouts.
◆ Buckshot: However, Vatican observers are watching how well Sartain handles a lawsuit stemming from the firing of a Catholic school vice principal, who claims he was canned by the archbishop for marrying his male partner.
◆ Backshot: Sartain, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI, joins African-American Roman Catholic Archbishop Wilton Gregory, 66, a South Side native, and Bishop Blase Cupich, 64, of Spokane, Wash., as possibilities to replace George, which Sneed disclosed last month.
$$$$ . . .
Actress Joan Cusack, sister of actor John Cusack, who not only hails from the Chicago area, but is raising her family here — is married to Chicago businessman Dick Burke, president of the online rental site Apartments.com, which was just sold to CoStar Group for $585 million!!!! Yowser.
Twitter jitters . . .
Delete tweet! The Miami Heat’s LeBron James, who has an endorsement deal with Samsung, recently tweeted his frustration upon discovering his Samsung smartphone had crashed and deleted all his data!
◆ The erased tweet: “My phone just erased everything it had in it and rebooted. One of the sickest feelings I’ve ever had in my life!!!”
◆ Nearly an hour later he deleted the first tweet and wrote: “Close call. Wheew! Got all my info back. Gamer! Lol”
The Bachmann file . . .
Hotdish horror! U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who is leaving office after her term ends, just lost her last chance to win the annual Minnesota “hotdish” contest this week.
◆ Her “Polar Vortex-Mex Hotdish” lost out to a casserole called “Turkey Trot Tater Tot Hotdish,” baked by a guy: U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, a Democrat. (The contest was started by U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.)
The Di file . . .
Return to sender! Now comes word Great Britain’s late Princess Diana, who was going through a nasty time with her then-husband, Prince Charles, sent a copy of the monarchy’s phone directory to the former News of the World’s royal editor, Clive Goodman.
◆ Quoth Goodman during testimony in London this week in the phone-hacking trial: “[Diana] was going through a very, very difficult time. She told me she wanted me to see the scale of her husband’s staff and household, compared with others. She felt she was being swamped by people close to his household. She was looking for an ally to take him on — to show the kind of forces that were ranged against her.”
Oh, those Brits.
Sneedlings . . .
I spy: Actor Martin Sheen, who dined with Gov. Pat Quinn Thursday at Harry Caray’s on Kinzie, spent his lunch regaling his companions with stories about his sons, actors Emilio “The Breakfast Club” Estevez and Charlie “tiger blood” Sheen . . . Hoop scoop: Chicago Board of Election Commissioners chief Langdon Neal is over the moon: His son, Langdon Earl Neal, plays basketball at American University in Washington, D.C., and his team just qualified for the NCAA tournament . . . Friday’s birthdays: Billy Crystal, 66; Michael Caine, 81, and Ann Ardolino, 100.